Pharmacy compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications for patients. Compounded medications are made based on a practitioners prescription in which individual ingredients are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form required by the patient and their unique needs.
When a patient is unable to take the commercially available drug or she requires a medication that has been discontinued, a licensed pharmacist can recreate that medication via compounding. Sometimes patients don’t respond to the traditional forms of treatment, or they simply need their medication in a different form. Compounding meets these needs by providing customized solutions for each patient’s needs.
When large manufacturers discontinue production of certain drugs, they make it hard for the patients who still need these medications to fill their prescriptions. Compounding pharmacists play an important role in providing access to discontinued medications by recreating pharmaceutical-based ingredients in order to ensure that patients get the critical care they require. Today, compounding pharmacies have access to the highest quality pharmaceutical ingredients and can fill the prescription using the latest research, quality control process, and techniques that help meet the individual patient needs.
Some medications have a very unpleasant flavor, making it hard for patients to take them as directed. A compounding pharmacist can custom make the prescription from scratch with the patient’s flavor of choice. This is especially handy when dealing with patients who may refuse medication, like young children and elderly adults.
From time to time, patients may need their medication in a different dosage form. For instance, patients who have difficulty swallowing a pill may find it easier to take their medication in a pleasantly flavored liquid form. Some medications can be also compounded in a topical form — cream or a gel that allows the medicine to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.
Allergies, sensitivity, as well as a patient’s intolerance of dyes, lactose, gluten or alcohol, can cause the unwanted reactions when taking a certain medication. In other cases, commercially available medications may contain excipients such as fillers and preservatives that cannot be tolerated by the patient because of sensitivities or allergies to these substances. A compounding pharmacist can make a formula without the offensive ingredients, so a patient can still get the right treatment.
Compounded medications are ordered by a licensed physician, veterinarian or other prescriber, and must be mixed in a safe and carefully controlled environment by a licensed compounding pharmacist.